I’ve always liked the concept of canoeing down a river. Since I’ve seen the classic movie Deliverance earlier this year, I seriously began to consider having such an adventure. Not that I especially wanted to experience being chased by mental hillbillies. I was attracted to this unusual kind of transportation, because that would allow me to make my way through remote places, that are usually inaccessible to us.
I needed an opportunity to make this project happen. I couldn’t have thought of a better moment than during my trip to Canada, where I was going to visit my brother in Montreal. We planned to go to the Mont-Tremblant national park, North of Montreal, and in a few hours, we were ready to go.We left early on a Saturday morning. We soon left the city, and yet an endless forest of conifers was surrounding the highway. Once we arrived to the park, we picked up the gear and got in a school bus, to be dropped at the departure location. After a memorable journey on the chaotic tracks of the park, we were eventually aboard the canoe, on a lovely little lake. It was 10 in the morning, but the sun was already high in the summer sky.
We spent the whole day rowing on the Devil’s river, as they call it. The route was exciting and the scenery amazing. We had to cross lakes of various sizes on the way. Times to times, the river was narrow and the stream faster. We had to maneuver the canoe carefully in order not to end upside down. I’m used to practice sea-kayaking, and I had already done rafting before, but this, I had never experienced before. It is a great way to explore nature. One thing though, I had the feeling that I was like ‘controlled’. I actually realized that this was coming from the fact that we were just following the river, and I was not used to ‘follow’ one single route without having any choice to do. Usually, it’s rather checking the map every 10 minutes and decide the next step. Anyway, I there discovered a way to travel that gave me unexpected sensations, and that is great!
The landscapes were breathtaking. It was precisely what people think of when they hear the word ‘Canada’ (after snow and cold of course :)): lakes and fir trees… lots of trees. All conditions were reunited to make this trip magical. It was very warm, the sky was deep blue, and the few clouds were strangely appearing to us in 3 dimensions. Times to times, the sky was clearly reflected by the water, like a blurry image of our reality. The area was extremely quiet and the atmosphere relaxing. Often, we could see beautiful birds of various species, fishes, or animals on the river bank. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to see any caribou or bigger animals.
The night arrived, and we stopped at a campsite (Yes, I believe that a canoe trip without at least a night in the dark Canadian forest is not a full trip!). Some people had already settled there. They were very friendly and my brother and I had a really interesting discussion with them. They told us a lot about Canada, Quebec and the local culture. We stayed awake until late, talking around the fire, and this is a great memory.
The second day, we left the campsite late, and canoed to the big Lac Escalier. The place was lovely. Some people were swimming or tanning on small beaches. My brother and I were having a break when we saw something rather unexpected. Just in front of us, albeit there was no wind, a… whirlwind started to form over the lake! I had never seen that before! For a moment, I’m pretty sure it was more than 6 or 7 feet high, and the whole thing lasted maybe 30 seconds at least! A couple of old people came to discuss of that with us, because they had never seen that either.
Some time later, we crossed the lake, and eventually reached the extracting point around 4pm. It was my first experience canoeing and I really enjoyed it. I am very happy having shared this experience with my brother, with whom I now have a stronger relationship. This is not my last canoe trip. The next one will be longer, and more technical.